Bayswater Park Restoration—The Case for Offsite Mitigationby Christopher R. Zeppie, Port Authority of New York and New, Jersey,
Abstract: A long term parking lot redevelopment, including a 33 acre (0.13 km2) expansion on an undeveloped parcel of the John F. Kennedy (JFK) International Airport leasehold raised concerns over the perceived loss of upland habitat and buffer area adjacent to Jamaica Bay. The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) as the lead agency pursuant to the State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA) concluded that mitigation of this loss was warranted and favored creation of a conservation easement on the airport leasehold. The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, the operator of JFK Airport, believed that this approach was contrary to its mandate of operating an airport, an unreasonable encumbrance on future redevelopment, and a tacit endorsement of the creation of bird habitat in the vicinity of critical airspace giving rise to aviation safety concerns. In lieu of the NYSDEC's approach, the Port Authority agreed to undertake the restoration of an 11.9 acre parcel of developed property (recently transferred to State Park ownership) on Jamaica Bay to upland habitat and forestall redevelopment on a small portion of the airport leasehold in a 'sensitive buffering area' when other on-airport alternatives were available. The foregoing is perceived as a win-win resolution where the Port Authority's objectives were served without unreasonable encumbrance of the airport leasehold, with a tangible benefit to the environment in the form of the restoration of upland habitat.
Subject Headings: Parks | Airports and airfields | Ecological restoration | Ports and harbors | Air quality | Developing countries | Bays | North America | Jamaica | United States | New Jersey | New York
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